‘The Manson Brothers Midnight Zombie Massacre’ is an explosive mash up between the horror and sports genre directed by ‘Pacific Rim’ helmer Max Martini. This original movie was written by former professional wrestlers Chris Margetis who stars in the film as one of the notorious title brothers, the charismatic, carefree smooth-talking Stone in collaboration with Mike Carey. Other stars in the movie include Randy Couture from the ‘Expendables,’ DB Sweeny known for the sports rom-com ‘The Cutting Edge,’ Adrian Pasdar from ‘Near Dark’ and Bas Rutten of ‘Sinners and Saint.’ This flick will premiere on both theatres and on demand on September 10, 2021.
The film follows the story of the infamous ruthless wrestling tag team champions consisting of two brothers namely Carlos aka Skull and Stone. However, now, they are not as famous as they used to be and their career is slowly dwindling, forcing them to take up smaller promotions and accept a deal to participate in a main event cage match during Halloween. The locker room conditions in the arena are pathetic as it looks like a rusty abandoned shelter which hasn’t been tendered for years.
Things kick off pretty normally as the twosome grapple with their disgusting living conditions as they wait for the D-Day. Interestingly the buffing up trend has been catching on among the wrestler community and the desire and pressure to bulk up easily forces many to opt for a shortcut which comes in the form of a Chinese made back door growth hormone that the users don’t know has been infused with a highly infectious virus that turns people into zombies.
Back to the preparation for the match, Stone visits a local store to purchase his Halloween costume. He finds a gypsy at the counter of one of the stores who gives him two identical head masks which are imbued with voodoo and will apparently bring the brothers immeasurable luck. This proves to be sort of true as Stone keeps winning the card games with his trainer Thump whenever he puts the mask on and when the whole arena gets infected with the zombie virus, the masks somehow tend to keep the nasty critters away from the duo with both escaping without a single scratch.
This big match is a big deal for the brothers who must face off their archenemy named Carson ‘The Crippler Murdock’ a self-entitled, selfish piece of crap hiding behind enormous promotions, a designer suit and charming looks played by David B. Meadows while in the real sense he is a coward and a controlling narcissist. It’s very satisfying though when Skull snaps his neck shutting his dirty mouth forever.
Before this long-awaited rematch happens, the whole arena is infected with the virus as a single bite or scratch is all it takes for one to turn into the blood thirsty maniacs. The use of muffled slow-motion sounds as Stone kills his beloved girlfriend after she gets infected adds intensity and emotion showing the extreme measure, he had to undertake to stay safe. But we must admit, the beat down on her head was pretty brutal. Skull on the other hand is hesitant to murder his better half who suffered a small scratch. Unfortunately, Carlos puts a bullet through her head before anyone gets the opportunity to find out whether she would get infected or not.
Back to fighting off the brainless nasties, the score is perfectly used as the sound goes up and fast to enhance the intensity and magnify the suspense which sets the heart racing during the action scenes delivering an awesome satisfaction. The movie is pretty well paced despite starting slow with a foul talking couple arguing over baseless crap when the son enters the scene and inquires on the Manson Brothers, a story the father is happy to tell. Focusing the shots on the two brothers with their own dialogue makes this movie more captivating compared to if the filmmakers would have opted for a narration.
The Mansion Brother’s characters are excellently cast, the mental thickness and honesty of Skull coupled with his naivety, gullibility, innocence, and brutality make him an endearing yet lethal person. Stone on the other end is the smart one, charismatic, gambling addict with debts all over, in therapy but the two get along so well, they can easily pass for real life brothers. The roles of Referee Moon played by Luce Rains and Dr. Dudembre embodied by Adrian Pasdar add a comical relief to the film. For instance, the doctor can’t survive without his oxygen tank which he carries around and is expected to save those injured during the match? What if he collapses and dies, is there a backup? Moon on the other hand is a frail looking drunk individual who doesn’t seem to know what he is supposed to do, which begs the question, was he the best option for such a presumably high-profile match? All in all, it’s really funny.
There is some political dig on the Chinese when Stone teases Dutch about the deadly growth hormone saying that everyone knows there is nothing legit that comes from China and with the Coronavirus having originated from the same country, this is subtly a hard jab. The editing is superbly done, pieces link together nicely in between the actual events and the narration so the viewer isn’t left hanging. Camera techniques are great keeping it to close ups to show emotion, shifting regularly to emphasize the fight scenes. The makeup and CGI are on point as the zombies’ faces are convincingly real and frightening. Costumes hit home with the infamous brother’s biker jackets with their logos engraved on the back, all are very ideal of what happens in the wrestling world. The transition from a great wrestling story to zombie mayhem definitely delivers the chills and thrills.
‘The Manson Brothers Midnight Zombie Massacre’ is a great escape from reality and since audiences don’t get to know whether the masks and the wrestling skills of the pair lived up to their expectations after they encounter an army of the walking dead outside the arena, fans will find out soon as a sequel titled ‘The Manson Brothers Satanic Vampire Death Match’ is already in the works.